The Hotel St. JamesNov 5th, 2009 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
The one location that Mike, from MovieShotsLA, told me I could absolutely NOT come home from New York without stalking was the seedy hotel where Josh Baskin (aka Tom Hanks) stayed after first becoming “big” in the 1988 movie of the same name. Mike had found the location of the Hotel St. James thanks to fave website The 80s Movies Rewind shortly before I left on my Big Apple vacation. So, since Owen, my fiancé, and I had already stalked several other Big filming locations during our NYC stalking day, we decided to keep the theme going by also making a stop at the Hotel St. James. The twelve story St. James, which first opened up in 1972 and is no longer the mangy place it was when Big was filmed, is considered to be one of the city’s most affordable hotels. Located just a block away from Times Square, a room at the St. James will run you anywhere from $159 to $269 per night depending on the time of year. Let me tell you, rates that low in Manhattan are almost unheard of! And thankfully, in real life, the hotel looks NOTHING like it did in the movie – otherwise I might never have ventured inside! LOL
The Hotel St. James first shows up in the very beginning of Big, as the seedy little place that Josh and Billy stumble upon while wandering the streets of Manhattan looking for an affordable hotel. Thanks to the shady characters hanging around out front, Josh refuses to even walk inside the place, prompting Billy to say “St. James, Josh! It’s religious!” LOL LOL LOL Josh and Billy end up booking a room at the hotel, which costs them $17.50 a night, plus a ten dollar deposit for the sheets. LOL LOL LOL Apparently, at the time Big was filmed during the late 80s, the St. James really was a decrepit little spot in a very shady part of town. But thanks to Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to clean up Times Square, Disney’s restoration of the New Amsterdam Theatre, and a renovation of the actual St. James itself, the hotel is really quite beautiful – and quite safe – now.
Several areas of the St. James were featured in Big, including the exterior (On a side note, the sign in the entrance door pictured in the screen capture above reads, “Firearms Kept On Premises”. LOL LOL LOL Really shows what a classy joint the hotel used to be!) ;
the lobby entrance;
and the check-in desk, which as you can see in the above photographs and screen captures is still positioned in the exact same place as it was in Big. The plastic partition and the toothless concierge are long since gone, though.
According to the EXTREMELY friendly concierge that I talked to, while the filming of Big did take place in the lobby area of the St. James, the hallway and hotel room scenes were actually all filmed on a studio soundstage. However, I’m not entirely convinced that information is correct. After recently re-watching the movie, it seems to me that a real St. James’ hotel room and the real St. James hallways were used in the filming. Thankfully, though, as you can see in these photographs, both the rooms and the hallways have undergone significant remodeling since that time! LOL
It is in Josh’s St. James hotel room that the very famous Big silly string scene took place.
I highly recommend stalking the Hotel St. James! Even though it has undergone some drastic changes in the years since the filming of Big took place, the hotel is still set up very similarly to how it was portrayed in the movie and is therefore still very recognizable. The Hotel St. James also looks like a very nice, very affordable place to spend a few nights when visiting the Big Apple! And while the newly renovated St. James is not luxurious or upscale by any means, it prides itself on having roomy, comfortable, clean accommodations. If the lobby is any indication of what the rooms look like, they must be be pretty darn nice!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Hotel St. James is located at 109 West 45th Street in Midtown Manhattan. You can visit their website here.